Traditions in naming children. Opinions wanted (especially men?)

Mr. Armadillo says it’s a tradition in his family that all males in his family line get a certain middle name. Supposedly it started with his grandfather, who had seven or eight sons. They all have the same middle name. Mr. Armadillo happens to be the only grandson out of the whole crop, with no others coming (he has no brothers, and all his uncles had daughters). He’s got the middle name.

I don’t want to steer the discussion, so I won’t present any opinions beyond that, but I’m curious what the dopers have to say. Men, would you participate? Women, how would you feel about it?

If it makes any difference, the middle name in question is Edward.

In my family it is a tradition that the eldest male of the generation gets the name Alfred. I am unsure how far back this goes, but I had a Granddad Alfred and I have an Uncle Alfred. My Mother balked when it came to giving me the name so I ended up with it as a middle name. Should I beat my cousins to the punch and produce the eldest male of the next generation, I would continue the tradition.

It seems a perfectly reasonable tradition to me, and fairly unobjectionable as middle names go (ask my brother, who got stuck with “Claude”).

The only tradition we have is the eldest son get his father’s first name as his middle name.
Carl Alfred> David Carl> John David> Alex John

I have my great-grandfather’s middle name, but mine’s spelled differently.

My father and grandfather share a middle name (and the same initials.)

Personally, I say name your child whatever you want, but if you want to continue the tradition, you should.


It seems in my family we take the grandfather’s name as our middle name. I have my mother’s dad’s name as my middle name, my father has his grandfather’s first name as a middle name. We also named our daughter after my mother and my mother named my sister after her mother the same way using first as middle.

I don’t see any problem with it, sounds reasonable enough to me.

Mr. Nightingale’s family has a traditional middle name, too, passed down to him from his father and grandfather. It’s not really a favorite name of mine (it’s George, if you’re wondering), but we gave it to my son. The tradition was important to my hubby.

On my mom’s side, there’s been at least one female child given the same dreadful middle name in every generation. It ended up being given to me.

When I say dreadful, I mean it. I’m not going to say the name in the unlikely chance someone here has it, but I’ve never gotten anything but grossed out looks for it- even when I don’t communicate that I dislike it.

Anyway, if it had been in honor of an esteemed ancestor or there was some story to go with it, I wouldn’t mind so much, but as far as anyone living knows, it’s just tradition. What’s always upset me is my mom and grandma both have it and hate it, and my mother especially loathes it, to the point that she dropped it when she married- but out of a feeling of obligation she passed it down to me.

I don’t use any of my birth name now, and intend to completely change it legally when I have the money to spare and the time to do it.

Eldest son is reasonable - all sons is a bit much…

I’d say go for it. As long as there’s not a tradition from your side of the family that all the male children get the same first name, it seems unobjectionable, at worst. ‘Edward’ is a fine name.

If I have a male child, I’ll be pushing fairly hard to have his first or second name be James, as, given why I have the name, I would feel rather awful breaking the chain. My grandfather was named Henry James <Lastname>, but everyone called him James. My father and I were both named after him - he died shortly before my parents got married. I would like to name my first-born son James (or, <Firstname> James, or, child’s mother willing, Henry James or James Henry) to honour the grandfather I never knew, and my father.

I find the concept rediculous and you should name your children whatever you like. Edward is not a bad name and if you like it go for it, but I think pressure to ‘continue the family name’ is stupid.

If I were in that situation, I’d go with the tradition. It’s harmless enough. If the name were Cuthbert, that might be troublesome. It gets really prickly if two or more relatives expect naming rights.

For what it’s worth, my middle name is the same as my grandfather’s first name, George. He was dead long before Dad got married, so there probably wasn’t any promise involved.

There’s a local family that swaps the first and middle names for each generation’s firstborn boy. So, Sid Minot’s son is Minot Sid. I might have felt sorry for Minot, who is my age, except that he’s kind of a jerk. :stuck_out_tongue:

We have a similar tradition in my family. My great-grandmother was the only child of her father who was the last of his line. So when she married, she kept her surname as a middle name, and gave her son the same middle name. He in turn gave his daughter the middle name, and she gave it to me. I definitely plan on giving my firstborn the same middle name as well. It’s a nice tradition and a fairly unusual middle name. It actually goes back to my Karuk ancestors, which is cool too.

Edward is a nice name, and it’s not even the first name. If you have no real object to it then I think it’s a nice tradition to carry on. I actually regret that neither of my names have any more significance than “We liked them” attached, especially as I don’t care for my middle name. Hating a middle name that honored a loved relative or family tradition would be better than hating a middle name that was just chosen at random.
It’s Leanne. It’s not shameful or embarassing, I just don’t like it.

I think that the desire to follow a tradition has to be respected even when it’s not understood, absent some VERY compelling reason (if, say, Edward was also the name of your stepfather who beat your mom or something).

At least it isn’t the first name. I currently know a family that has sons named, approximately, John Michael, John Christopher, John Gabriel, and so on. The eldest shares all three names with his father. The next one shares all three names with his uncle . . . and so on. Possibility for confusion: endless.

Growing up I had a friend who was in a similar naming convention only the name was Mary (she was Mary Frances, her sister was Mary Catherine).

Giving them the same middle name seems a lot more sensible.

This is kind of where I’m at with the whole thing. I find it a little distasteful, kind of repugnant, and I dislike the name Edward, but it means a lot to Mr. Armadillo and his family, so I guess I’m stuck with it. Partly I dislike it because it reeks of some kind of patriarchal thing that purposely excludes all the women in the family as “others”–and partly, I just don’t like the name Edward. I also feel as far as our kids are concerned they’ll never be as keyed in to their maternal lineage simply by virtue of being [hislastname] children instead of [mylastname] children. He’s already got all our children labled as “his” with the surname so… why does he need another?

He thinks I’m just being purposely contrary and that there’s no reason for me to argue against it. I think it’s stupid to have eight boys in the same family with the same name, middle or no. Also, names are such a deeply important thing that I feel like it’s somehow cheating them to give them all the same cookie-cutter label*. I told him I’d happily let him have the first born for the tradition but that wasn’t a reasonable compromise in his opinion. It means a whole lot to him to continue the tradition, and I’ll get a ton of pressure from his family, so I guess I don’t have much of a choice in the matter. I’d rather continue it and give them two middle names than to have them become some kind of pawn in an argument, especially for something as important as their name.

*I don’t mean I’d name them something hideous and “Youuniqque,” but it does seem weird to have a whole family tree of people with the same damn name.

If it’s important to your husband, I’d say go ahead with it. But make sure that you get to name any girls. :slight_smile:

If it was just the rest of the family that was pushing for it, I’d tell em to screw off. But as you see from my prior post, this kind of tradition means nothing to me.

Same here, on my father’s side.

Similar for me but the eldest son (me, in this case) get the father’s AND the grandfather’s names as middle names. Hence my never-can-fit-on-forms middle handles of ‘Cecil Edward’.

So my first boy (unlikely as it seems now at age 39.5 with all girls) would be ‘Hisname Myname Edward’.